When the owners of the Swanston Hotel Grand Mercure decided to embark on a multi-million dollar transformation of the establishment into the more upscale Pullman Melbourne on Swanston, the notion of enlisting just one interior designer for the task was for them too much an inferior one.
Ultimately they rather ambitiously decided on four of them. Yes, four. The quartet of firms – Rothelowman, Studio MAC, Interiors by Foster and P49 – were handed a cool $30 million budget with a brief to completely reinvent the 15-storey property in the heart of the CBD.
Unsurprisingly, with the designers encouraged to create unique spaces infused with "sophisticated urbanism", the result is rather eclectic, with one of the main features being the hotel's own distinctively Melbourne laneway entrance from Little Bourke Street.
The laneway, officially Louden Place, which discreetly draws guests inside the hotel and into what's described an "architectural tunnel" that leads to the lobby, is dominated by an edgy mural.
Upstairs the 204 vibrantly-decorated guest rooms feature carpets that celebrate Melbourne's famous grid-like network of CBD streets and laneways as well as railway-style destination boards proclaiming the city's most renowned locales.
However, undoubtedly the most successful feature of Pullman Melbourne on Swanston, which re-opened late last year, is its stylish and spacious Club Lounge designed by MAC designstudio occupying all of level 15, with views over the surrounding huddles of city rooftops and beyond.
The luxuriously inviting main lounge area, for the exclusive use of club level room guests, includes a library and fireplace as well as The Pantry serving as a multi-purpose space for meals and drinks. It all goes to show that an eclectic approach to design, far from being overly ambitious, may well prove a smart way for the Pullman to really pull them in.
Doubles start from $217. See pullmanmelbourneonswanston.com.au Anthony Dennis stayed as a guest of the hotel.